Never Heard of It: My Favorite Lesser Known Films

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  • Here is a list of lesser known films that I consider to be great. Considering that there is no hard data to back up whether a movie is lesser known or not, I did my best to include films that most people have never heard of or seen. I'm still working on this one, but this is a good start.

  • 3 Women (1977)
  • The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)
  • Awakenings (1990)
  • Cube (1997)
  • Dead End (2003)
  • Dead Ringers (1988)
  • Dummy (2002)
  • Fandango (1985)
  • The Foot Fist Way (2006)
  • The Gift (2000)
  • Happy Accidents (2001)
  • The House of Yes (1997)
  • Igby Goes Down (2002)
  • In the Company of Men (1997)
  • Kicking and Screaming (1995)
  • The Last Days of Disco (1998)
  • The Long Goodbye (1973)
  • Love and Death (1975)
  • Mean Creek (2004)
  • Moonlight Mile (2002)
  • Mute Witness (1994)
  • The Myth of Fingerprints (1997)
  • The Ninth Configuration (1980)
  • Primer (2004)
  • Pushing Tin (1999)
  • Roger Dodger (2002)
  • The Rules of Attraction (2002)
  • Rumble Fish (1983)
  • Solaris (2002)
  • Tape (2001)
  • Trust (1990)
  • U-Turn (1997)
  • Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
  • You Can Count On Me (2000)
Author Comments: 

It's worth noting that I worked in a video store in the early 2000's, and as a result watched a lot of lesser known films from that time. This probably explains why there are so many films from that period. Please comment and add your own favorite lesser known films.

You could use the number of IMDb votes as criteria, tho this may skew it for movies made before the popularity of the web.

Ones I've seen from your list:
15107 Mean creek (2004)
16585 Pushing tin (1999)
19411 Primer (2004)
19653 Igby goes down (2002)
31929 Awakenings (1990)
35068 Solaris (2002)
53604 Cube (1997)

My very favorite (90%+) movies with less than 30000 votes:
02738 Earthlings (2005)
06575 Snow cake (2006)
10253 Joyeux Noel (2005)
11259 Baraka (1992)
13288 Regarding Henry (1991)
19082 The big blue (1988) [European version]
23246 The station agent (2003)
26028 Three colors: blue (1993)

I only gave it a 7/10, but I remember how strange I thought it was that the Sigourney Weaver movie The guys (2002) had so few votes. It currently has 833.

That's an interesting idea. I've been thinking of re-titling it (or at least starting a separate list) to be underrated films. A lot of these movies are actually movies that many people have seen, but don't get the respect I think they deserve. The IMDb star ratings would probably help for that as well.

I definitely agree with Regarding Henry and The Station Agent, but wasn't a huge fan of Blue. Haven't seen any of the rest. I'll have to check 'em out. Thanks for your feedback!

A separate underrated films list would be interesting. A few years ago I used movielens which had a handy stat showing where your rating differed most from the average. It's a bit harder with IMDb, but by sorting by one's rating, you can see a few stand out.

Movies I liked but most people don't as much are mostly sappy and were all released while I was about 13-15 years old (where I rated a movie 8 or more, but where the average is at least 2.0 lower):
Mine, IMDb ave. (as of 2011-04-04), title
9 6.5 Regarding Henry (1991)
8 5.8 Kindergarten cop (1990)
8 6.0 Francesco (1989)
8 6.0 Green card (1990)

As for movies I didn't like but which most people do (where I gave a rating or 3 or less while the average is at least 2.0 more):
3 5.0 Little Nicky (2000)
3 5.1 Beyond the stars (1989)
3 5.6 Be cool (2005)
3 5.6 Good luck Chuck (2007)
3 5.7 Ace Ventura: when nature calls (1995)
3 5.7 Yellowbeard (1983)
2 4.7 Pauly Shore is dead (2003)
2 4.8 Monkey trouble (1994)
3 6.1 Moonraker (1979)
2 5.1 What the #$*! do we (k)now!? (2004)
3 6.2 Bullet (1996)
3 6.2 Riding in cars with boys (2001)
3 6.2 S1m0ne (2002)
3 6.5 The mothman prophecies (2002)
3 6.6 Ace Ventura: pet detective (1994)
3 6.8 Grumpy old men (1993)
3 6.8 Waiting... (2005)
3 6.9 Bad lieutenant (1992)
3 7.2 Alphaville (1965)
3 7.2 Dumb & dumber (1994)
3 7.3 Bad Santa (2003)
3 7.3 Sleeper (1973)
3 7.4 Spider-man (2002)
3 7.4 Trading places (1983)
3 7.9 Grizzly man (2005)
2 6.9 Alpha dog (2006)
3 8.0 Brazil (1985)
3 8.0 Mulholland dr. (2001)
2 7.7 Moulin rouge! (2001)
2 7.8 The boondock saints (1999)
2 8.0 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
2 8.1 Duck soup (1933)